One of my favorite Christmas stories as a child was Karin's Christmas Walk, by Susan Pearson. Not only did the author share my last name (I was a Pearson before I married and became a Pierson), but the protagonist was a Karin, just like my sister! (well, close enough anyway - my sister has two r's).

We loved reading about Karin and her walk to the store the evening her uncle is expected to arrive. Karin is so excited for her uncle's visit, and doesn't want to leave the house in case she misses his grand entrance, but she does as her mother wishes and heads out to the store (never mind that her brothers get to continue playing outside the whole time, hmm...). On her way back she stops and talks to various neighbors along the way, and everyone asks if her uncle has arrived yet. You can feel the anticipation build as she nears home. As Karin rounds the final corner she's both excited and afraid of what she'll find: what if her uncle hasn't arrived? What if all this anticipation just leads to disappointment? But then she sees his red truck in the driveway and she runs to the door ready to toss it aside and run into his arms ... but she waits. Just for a minute Karin waits at the door, for she knows what is about to happen and can imagine all the joy that will wrap around her the moment she turns the doorknob. She pauses in anticipation simply to enjoy the feeling of waiting, and what a wonderful moment that is.

The day before Thanksgiving this year I had to go into work for a few hours, even though my parents had already arrived from New Jersey, my sister was on her way up from St. Olaf College, and my grandparents were on the final leg of their drive across the state of South Dakota. And on top of that, there was a prediction of snow! But I still drove in to work, determined to make it home before any of the excitement began. But a few hours later when I pulled into the drive, I noticed three cars parked out front, and I could see some commotion through the kitchen windows. Oh no, I've missed it! I thought. They've already arrived! But then as I rounded the front of the house I paused for a second and remembered the story of Karin's Christmas Walk and how these are the moments, when you know you are about to be whisked into a house full of celebration and love, that should be treasured. Revel in the waiting. So I stood there a moment longer, looking at my front door, and then Evan's head bobbed in the window and before I knew it I was inside.

For children, Christmas is all about anticipation. I remember counting down the days until Christmas, and although I'm sure I was excited about the gifts I might open, that is not what ruled my thoughts. The simple act of anticipating is enough to make any child giddy and send them bouncing off the walls on wings of sugar plumb ferries, to the endless tunes of The Nutcracker (...or maybe that was just us!).

Here's a replica of my childhood advent calendar, made by my mom. Our excitement generally mounted as there were fewer and fewer ornaments to choose from.

This year I'm trying to focus on the anticipation of Christmas and not worry about all the burdens adults like to add to the holiday. So maybe we aren't "fully prepared" in some ways ... heck, we haven't even sent out Christmas cards! (I know this isn't necessarily a burden and usually isn't for me, but this year it was just too much). And I honestly don't have patience to wait in endless lines at the mall just to pick up one more gift. But I am excited, hopeful, and ready for a few cozy evenings with the Piersons down on the farm in Lake City; some quality time together baking cookies, skiing, and playing games; and then jetting off to New Jersey
on Saturday to join my three sisters and parents for a week of festivities and celebration. I can't wait!

... But I'm enjoying the anticipation.

What are you eagerly anticipating this year? How do the children in your life inspire you to see Christmas in a new light?

Karin's Christmas Walk photo taken from here (after I edited it).


  1. Carolyn! I LOVE your blog. Thank you. I thoroughly enjoy the anticipation of Christmas. In fact, I think it might be my favorite part. Thank you for putting my feelings into words. Enjoy the holiday with your and Evan's families!

  2. Glad you like it! Have a very Merry Christmas! : )

  3. Oh my goodness! You know another Stine?!? haha. Well, I TOO love your blog Carolyn! Safe travels and Merry Christmas!

  4. Haha yea, and I wasn't exactly sure which Stine it was! ... first one was Christine Hanson, second was Christine Swichtenberg??? But that's just a guess. And you're both Oles too!

  5. Nope, must be the other way around! (I DO share the sentiments from her comment though. And p.s. this is Christine Hanson...) :)

  6. Shoot. I was trying to picture both of you saying each comment and really couldn't come to any conclusion. Glad I have you two sorted out now : )


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